BOSTON – Research spending at the University of Massachusetts in fiscal year 2012 surpassed the $500 million mark for the third consecutive year, UMass President Robert L. Caret announced Wednesday.
Preliminary data compiled by the school’s Office of Institutional Research showed that the institution’s R&D expenditures climbed 1.8 percent to $598.5 million during fiscal 2012 from $586.7 million during the 2011 fiscal year.
“We were pleased that in this fiscal environment we continued to grow our research enterprise, which is critically important to the vitality and future of the commonwealth and the global economy,” Caret said in prepared remarks. The new figures were presented at a meeting of the UMass Board of Trustees’ Committee on Science, Technology and Research on Wednesday.
“We realize that the halcyon days of 2009, when the federal government invested heavily in research and development, may be over. But with the threat of sequestration hanging over us - if President [Barack] Obama and Congress are unable to reach a deal to avert automatic spending cuts to defense and domestic discretionary programs - our worry going forward is that this growth will be substantially slowed, which would have devastating consequences for the commonwealth and the country as a whole,” said Caret in a statement.
According to the school’s release, federal research dollars account for roughly 75 percent of all UMass research spending. Much of that funding is provided by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense. “Under sequestration, federal agencies would be subject to as much as an 8 percent reduction in funding, hampering their ability to fund critical scientific research,” said the release. Caret said UMass stands to lose up to $32 million in federal research funding under sequestration.
“As a world-class research university, faculty and students on all five of our campuses are engaged in scientific discovery that impacts the lives of the people in this state and around the globe,” Caret said. “Their research and rate of discovery will definitely be affected if these cuts take place, so our great hope is for a resolution to the federal budget impasse.”
Based on the preliminary results, the $597.5 million in research spending broke down as follows:
UMass Amherst: $194.8 million
UMass Boston: $60.1 million
UMass Dartmouth: $22.7 million
UMass Lowell: $60.6 million
UMass Worcester: $256.1 million
The UMass Central Office: $3.1 million
According to the release, UMass’s research and development programs have included: developing national centers for nano-manufacturing, developing radar systems to provide early warnings of severe weather events, creating partnerships to help reduce disparities in cancer incidents, and work on sustainably fishery habitats, medical devices and programs helping expedite laboratory discoveries into new products and therapies for patients.